BlackFacts Details

Harold Washington

For the professor of Hebrew Bible, see Harold C. Washington.

Harold Lee Washington (April 15, 1922 – November 25, 1987) was an American lawyer and politician from the state of Illinois who was elected as the 41st Mayor of Chicago. Washington was noted as the first African–American to be elected as mayor of Chicago in February 1983. Washington served as mayor from April 29, 1983 until his death on November 25, 1987. Washington was also a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1981 until beginning his tenure as Chicago mayor in April 1983, representing the Illinois first district. Prior to his time as a member of the House of Representatives, Washington previously served in the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives from 1965 until 1976.

Early life and education [ edit ]

Harold Lee Washington was born on April 15, 1922 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois,[4] to Roy and Bertha Washington. His father had been one of the first precinct captains in the city, a lawyer and a Methodist minister. His mother, Bertha, left a small farm near Centralia, Illinois, to seek her fortune in Chicago as a singer. She married Roy Washington soon after arriving in Chicago and the couple had three children, one named Kevin and the other named Ramon Price (from a later marriage), who was a former artist and eventually became chief curator of The DuSable Museum of African American History. Washington grew up in Bronzeville, a Chicago neighborhood that was the center of black culture for the entire Midwest in the early and middle 20th century. Washington attended DuSable High School, then a newly established racially segregated public high school, and was a member of its first graduating class. In a 1939 citywide track meet, Washington placed first in the 110 meter high hurdles event, and second in the 220 meter low hurdles event. Between his junior and senior year of high school, Washington dropped out, claiming that he no longer felt challenged by the coursework. He worked at a

Politics Facts

National Trust for Historic Preservation